Police: 'Large number of officers allowed us to stamp out trouble quickly'
A TOTAL of 20 people were arrested during and after Saturday's protests in Bristol.
More than 1,000 officers from forces across the UK were on the streets of the city for the English Defence League march on Saturday – and two were injured.
Officers arrested 16 people during the day on charges including racially aggravated public order offences, assaulting a police officer, public disorder, being drunk and disorderly, failing to remove face coverings, unlawful assembly, going equipped to cause damage and failing to leave an area when directed by a police officer.
Police remained in the city until the early hours of Sunday and four more arrests were made during the evening, for offences including assault and theft.
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Details of how many arrested people were associated with each demonstration were not available yesterday.
Police estimated that around 300 EDL supporters and 500 We Are Bristol supporters took part in their respective marches, with up to 200 other EDL supporters elsewhere in the city.
Police said the operation – the biggest related to a demonstration in force history – had been "challenging" but overall were pleased at how the day had gone.
Assistant Chief Constable Anthony Bangham, pictured, who was in charge of the police operation, said: "There are always elements on all sides which let themselves down and that was always going to be the policing challenge. The main aim of policing the event was to segregate and push apart the groups to ensure the two sides did not clash and this is what we did. There were isolated outbreaks of disorder that we quickly responded to and controlled.
"The number of officers meant we were able to mobilise to incidents which occurred.
"Overall we are happy with how the vast majority of people conducted themselves and the vast majority of those involved protested peacefully and expressed their views. Unfortunately there was a minority who were much more aggressive."
Mr Bangham said he was not aware of any formal complaints about how the police handled the situation when protesters clashed with officers at Redcliffe Way. The trouble was filmed by officers using hand-held cameras.
Mr Bangham added: "We had our professional standards team in Bristol to deal with any complaints that may have been made.
"I have yet to be made aware of any complaints but we do know there were issues raised at the time."
Of the two officers injured as protesters and police clashed, one received a hand injury while another was bitten on the finger. Both were treated at the scene.
Mr Bangham added: "I have always maintained that the central shopping and tourist destinations should remain unaffected and I am pleased that the city centre remained trouble-free."
Mr Bangham also praised the Muslim community in the city and thanked them for their support and "dignified" attitude to the demonstrations.